Client Catches – If it’s ‘Bright or Night…Go for White…!’ Part 2 of 2
Welcome to Part 2 of my short blog series ‘If it’s ‘Bright or Night…’ Go for White!!!’ In case you missed it, Part 1 can be found here.
Having discussed and dissected some of the catches my clients have achieved on the ‘bright white soft lures’ within some fantastically sunny, blue-sky, day-time conditions, during what has been an extension to summer in many ways here in the South-West, as the length of each night has increased this autumn, so to have the numbers of bass it seems… What’s more, I can confirm that some of my thoughts and theories in relation to utilising them in darkness has become cemented within my mind just recently – which alongside highlighting the catches, is the subject of this post in essence.
I guess it’s very easy to come to the conclusion that any ‘white lure’, utilised in complete darkness is extraordinarily effective because: a) they are more visible to the fish and b) because so many anglers who partake in sneaking around the coastline at night will clip on a white lure first of all. I completely get it, and I am the first to admit that when I first began catching bass on lures whilst essentially ‘blindfolded’ (since April 2017) that I only ever used a Bamboo Stick, Needlefish or an Albie Snax in this colour – it was the ‘confidence thing’ for sure.
If you follow this blog avidly, or have read either of my books (The Lure of The Bass and Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective Volume 1) then you will know that as my overall conviction increased in relation to different lure types, methods and techniques at night, by ‘Year 2’ of my ‘The Dark-Side education’ I had progressed to using silver, and pushing the boat out beyond recognition at that point, the black-coloured lures equally alongside the white patterns…
Almost exclusively back then, I based the choice of lure colour entirely on how ‘bright the night was’ courtesy of the ambient light: the Moon, stars and/or the associated overall cloud cover. Alongside these naturally occurring elements, in a similar fashion to the daylight conditions we fished within, there remains many other constituents to consider when lure fishing in darkness – the water clarity, sea state, current velocity and the amount of ‘crap’ (weed fragments) in the water being prime examples.
Acknowledging that the vast majority of my night fishing and guiding was and still is completed in mostly calm, clear, sea conditions, having spent literally thousands of hours whilst either alone or when guiding hundreds of clients now, I can only deduce that a white, soft plastic lure, fished in darkness will, as per the very bright/sunny daylight conditions, routinely ‘out-fish’ something more naturally coloured, and more often than not, most certainly something more garish – I will expand on this later.
This my surprise you, or it might not – and I must add that I’m not trying to prove anything here, rather I’m just pointing out the facts and conveying the reality of the situation, in addition to what I have personally experienced during the 250-300 sessions (encompassing days or nights either guiding or fishing alone) that I spend each calendar year out chasing these mesmerising sea fish. Moreover, in as far as the past 15 months are concerned in particular, as I’ve intimated above, during the majority of these sessions I will have more than one angler fishing alongside each other – which means I can attain a direct and often instant comparison between results…
Lurid vs Subtle
Before I continue to depict some of the memorable ‘midnight moments’ I’ve shared with my clients over the past few weeks, in Part 1 I wrote a few paragraphs associated to my comparable reticence when it comes to utilising ‘solid white hard lures’ in broad daylight. Therefore, as I said I would, I will now relay some of my personal night fishing and guiding experiences.
If presenting something visibly, physically and audibly prominent in highly transparent water, more especially when it is perhaps only a few inches to a feet deep at best, under cloudless skies in the middle of the day may seem like a way of reducing your chances of fooling a wary bass (over a silvery, flashy and splashy lure), then how have we got whilst utilising solid white hard lures in the dark?
Again, I direct you back to my own fishing and when guiding multiple clients on the same venue, during the same session, but with different lure types thrown into the mix in addition to the phrase: “Less is More…”. Indeed, I would have to say that, outside of turbulent ‘swell conditions’ washing up the shingle when the background noise is higher than on a calm still night, hard lures in general, not just the white ones, haven’t fared all that well in comparison to ‘the softs’.
That said, such is the intrinsically whimsical nature of these formidable predators, the gallery below incorporates two brilliant nights of client catches in such conditions (when the soft lures or needlefish just didn’t cut it’ either) and is a great example of how everything can turn on its head when this marvellous sea fish is concerned. Moreover, these were sessions in which I learnt a hell of a lot and that you can read more extensively about here.
Remember, these are my observations, on my marks though in the South-West of England – the patterns could be completely different elsewhere by anglers fishing over different ground, where the water and weather is warmer/cooler, where there is greater levels overall current, etc, etc…
Needlefish… I mention them for a reason as aren’t they a hard lure Marc? Yes they are, but the difference between a needlefish lure (and the white Savage Gear SW Pencil to a certain extent, that have been great for us this season at night) and a noisy, wriggling hard minnow or surface lure is that it is designed with stealth and subtlety through the subaquatic environment in mind. Less is more at night it seems, and the bottom line is that in the great majority of cases, a hard lure designed to shake, rattle and roll, especially if it’s a bright white, could just be a little too obvious perhaps… Maybe, just maybe the softer or quieter lures place a little bit more doubt in their minds which, as I’ve written before, is always a good thing when it comes to catching bass on plastic lures – hard, metal or soft…
I will digress at this point as I am saving all of my thoughts, theories, suggestions and postulations in relation to precisely why a soft, white lure is just so damn effective for my 3rd book: Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective (Volume 2) due for release in March 2023. But in the meantime, I will leave you with individual images of some recent client captures (on top of all the others this season achieved on said lure), plus a short description of how we achieved them on the soft white lures…
Dave’s cracking bass (above) at close to 4lb snatched a white, 140mm, Savage Gear Gravity Stick Pulse Tail within 5 metres of his stance on a steeply-shelving shingle beach. The fish was the only bite of the session, right on High Water to the minute. Of note, is that I had two other clients with me that night, and up until the point of capture they were utilising a silver-flanked diving minnow and a Needlefish respectively. The night was still and sea state was clear and calm, albeit with an occasional 1m swell moving into the bay.
My client Paul (above) is regular on these pages for the reason that he is an excellent pupil and a bloody good angler! This near 5lb midnight-bruiser took the White, weedless, Savage Gear Gravity Stick Paddle Tail this time in a fast-running zone of water close to where the fry were harbouring in the wrack-ridden margins – an area where you definitely wouldn’t place a lure with treble hooks dangling from it!
One of the better night-time images that I’ve managed to capture on my new camera (the Pixel 6 Smartphone would you believe after a disater with my Sony HX90V). Once again, it was the weedless properties of the excellent Savage Gear Gravity Stick (in white of course) that accounted for this and one other bass for my client Ben above. Crucially, not only was the water thick with weed fragments, but he was retrieving the lure over ‘reefy’ ground, in churned-up water that was only a couple of feet deep – something a hard lure wouldn’t have been able to achieve. It took a lot of skill to ‘work’ this lure in the conditions Ben faced so huge respect to him.
This stonking bass (the featured image for this post) that measured 63cm and weighed just over 6lb I imagine was, once again, the only fish of an exhausting, but very enjoyable session, in which we had to shelter from a swirling wind. What is noteworthy about this capture (Rob’s new PB) is that the fish took a white lure (yep, the Paddle Tailed Savage Gear Gravity Stick) under a very, very, bright full-Moon, in a powerful ribbon of tide. Further, I did manage to find a ‘way around’ what could have been a problem with the high levels of ambient light that evening, but you’ll have to wait until Book Number Three to find out…! Sorry!
‘The Lure of The Bass’ & ‘Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective (Volume 1)’
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To reserve my most recent (March 2021) release Bass Lure Fishing – A Guide’s Perspective (Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society review here and Henry Gilbey’s review here) or my first release (October 2018) ‘The Lure of The Bass‘ (BASS review here) please contact me via the contact form at the bottom of this post, or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading.